Josh Lucas Discusses Playing Young John Dutton, Working With Taylor Sheridan, Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’ & More [Yellowstoners Podcast]
Jan 3, 2023
The Yellowstoners, Mike DeAngelo and Rodrigo Perez, have returned to break down another episode of “Yellowstone.” Along the way, they’ll also welcome guests from the show to discuss what makes the series so popular, their favorite characters and moments, and tease what’s to come.
READ MORE: ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Review: Taylor Sheridan’s Series Remains Edible, But How Long Can The Meat & Potatoes Last?
For the uninitiated, the top-rated series follows John Dutton (Kevin Costner), a powerful rancher in Montana, as he struggles to keep his ranch and family together by any means necessary — all while being besieged by land developers, surrounding native tribes, and America’s first national park. The top-rated Taylor Sheridan show stars Kevin Costner, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, Gil Birmingham, and more.
On this podcast episode, our hosts break down their thoughts on the mid-season finale, which aired this past weekend and was followed by an immediate announcement that part two of Season 5 will return after a long hiatus in the summer of 2023.
After our hosts discuss where they stand on Season 5 so far, Young John Dutton himself, actor Josh Lucas (“Sweet Home Alabama,” “Hulk,” “Ford v. Ferrari”) joins the podcast to share his long journey to joining the series as a younger version of Kevin Costner’s John Dutton.
“When I read the script of ‘Yellowstone,’ the pilot, I wanted to be one of [Costner’s] kids, and I really made that clear and pushed that on Taylor [Sheridan], and he was also pretty clear that he did not want that for me,” Lucas said.
And so, Lucas thought that was it. His hopes of joining the show were dashed, but, as luck (and Taylor Sheridan) would have it, there was another part for him at the very last minute.
“I got this call from Taylor asking if I could be in Montana the next morning playing a young version of Kevin, and I jumped at the opportunity,” Lucas recalled. “The journey of it has been really interesting because, in that first conversation that we had, he told me there was not going to be very much for me in the first couple years, and most of it would be in Season 5. Think about this – this is before he’s even shot the pilot. In my mind, frankly, I thought, ‘This guy’s nuts!’ And also, he’s a dreamer, but he’s a dreamer in a way that I didn’t think for a second that it would come to life. I never thought about it. And then I did the little pieces that I did, and I loved doing them, but obviously, the show became a huge success, and I felt a little bit of sadness that I wasn’t there, not because of the success of the show, but because the show was special. I thought the flashbacks were really cool, and it was interesting to tell the story multiple times. And so earlier this year, when I got the call from Taylor that he’s bringing me back, I reminded him that he’d said season five was where there was going to be a lot more, and here we are.”
READ MORE: ‘1923’ Teaser Trailer: Violence Has Always Haunted The Yellowstone Dutton Family
During the interview, Lucas also talked about his first day on the set of “Yellowstone” and how it illustrates the kind of showrunner that Taylor Sheridan is and the trust he puts into his performers.
“The first day on set – I had actually never met Taylor; I’d only spoken with him on the phone,” Lucas said. “Over the mountain comes 30 head of cattle pretty fast, and behind them was a cowboy driving them towards me. And the cowboy, as it gets closer, I realize is Taylor. And Taylor was driving this group of cattle into the scene, and they were setting up cameras. And basically, he gets off the horse and says, ‘You do ride, right?’ and I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he says, ‘Here, get on!’ I got on that horse, and he was like, ‘Roll cameras!’ and it almost felt like old Hollywood. Like you’re dealing with some 1930s Howard Hawks sort of director. He said, ‘Drive this group of cattle back into that pen,’ and it was frankly a test in some ways but also a trust that he had that I could handle it. It was, to this day, one of the most interesting moments of my life and film career – I was terrified, but I also loved it.”
Having a career that spans back into the nineties, a handful of Lucas’ past projects are also inevitably discussed. The Playlist recently ran a separate piece on Josh Lucas’ memory of working with Christian Bale on “American Psycho.” Lucas also discussed his time working on Ang Lee’s “Hulk” film prior to the big superhero boom and the respect he gained for the director at that time.
“If people ask me who my favorite directors are, I almost invariably will tell you my number one is Ang [Lee],” Lucas shared. “I don’t use this word genius, but I think he’s truly up there as a, if not brilliant, genius filmmaker. Like you say, he was swinging for the rafters on [‘Hulk’]. I don’t think the technology was quite where his brain was. And if you look at what he did with ‘Life of Pi,’ he was able to hit it out of the park. I think the technology evolved, and he’s one of the people who pushed the technology to evolve. I know he was pushing the team of people who were on the CGI of ‘Hulk’ to make something that, technically, maybe wasn’t capable of being at the level he wanted it yet. And so I think he was very frustrated with that movie by not being able to get what he wanted and what was in his brain. But I also agree with you, the way he was morphing, the way pages were flipping. I mean, he was creating a visual comic book. And I haven’t seen anybody do it quite the same way he was doing it – think about it, that’s twenty years ago, right? So, there’s an incredible auteur filmmaker beneath this monster, an early Marvel movie. I have nothing but respect for it.”
Less horsing around and more drama! You can listen to the entire episode breakdown and interview below.
Yellowstoners is part of The Playlist Podcast Network—which includes The Playlist Podcast, The Rogue Ones, Bingeworthy, Deep Focus, The Fourth Wall, The Discourse, and more—and can be heard on iTunes, AnchorFM, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and now on Spotify. Be sure to subscribe and drop us a comment or a rating, as we appreciate it. Thank you for listening.
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